There are some fashion habits that we predict will be hard to ever break, and favoring sneakers of all shapes and styles are chief among them. The obsession has come from the years we’ve spent coveting trends like minimalist leather and the ugly sneaker. It’s bred a market full of options so that shoppers today can pick their preferences and style themselves accordingly.
Another reason for such a robust market: Sneakers are shoes for everyday wear, and practically speaking, the more you sport them, the more they’ll wear down. This is why many shoe experts will tell you that sneakers aren’t built to last forever. So, wear your favorite pair now, next week, and next month but remember that there’s no harm in working another pair into your wardrobe sometime soon. If anything, that’s expected.
Read on for some of the best sneakers available now, plus some styling expertise from Fausti.
Meet the Expert
Fausti is a stylist and fashion collector based in New York City.
Best Overall: Reebok Classic Nylon
What do buyers say? 88% of 3,700+ Amazon reviewers rated this product 4 stars or above.
The Reebok Classic Nylon sneakers always look fresh. Even with a sporty ‘80s vibe, we love how versatile they are. In terms of comfort, these sneakers have a padded foam sock liner for cushiness and an airy midsole so wearers can be light on their feet. From a cost perspective, they won’t break the bank, as they sit at a pretty economical price point of around $65.
Colors: Team Navy, White, Black | Upper Material: Nylon and suede | Size Range: 5-11
Best Budget: Vans Old Skool
The Vans Old Skool style is a durable, versatile, and very well-priced sneaker. Design-wise, it has reinforced toe caps, supportive padded collars, and thick rubber outsoles—features that we felt have helped them last long over the time we’ve worn them. Given the approachable price point of $60, you could snatch these up in a mix of neutral and vibrant colors to cover your bases and have some fun.
Colors: Black, Turtledove, Grape Wine, Rain Drum, Desert Sun, Navy, Gray Dawn, Pewter, Blushing, Racing Red, Rose Dawn, Drizzle, Port Royale, Baby Blue | Material: Suede and canvas | Size Range: 5-17.5
Best Classic: Nike Daybreak
The Nike Daybreak sneaker has been stocked as a go-to running shoe in closets for decades, making it an infallible sneaker pick. Reviewers love the style for its durability, comfort, and versatility with casual dress.
Colors: Black/Summit White/Off Noir, White/Black/Orange, Ivory/Desert Sand/Sienna, Football Grey/White/Black, Summit White/Pale Ivory +more | Upper Material: Canvas, suede, and nylon | Size Range: 5-12
What Our Editors Say
"These are my tried and true favorite sneakers. I bought them in black last year and they're so, so comfortable. They pair just as well with slacks or dresses as they do with jeans and a T-shirt." —Erika Reals, Associate Fashion Editor, Commerce
Best Everyday: New Balance Made in USA 990v5 Core
New Balance offers easy-to-walk-in sneaker styles that so many of us are hyped up about. The 990v5 is one such style. It has the spirit of a chunky sneaker but doesn’t stand out so much that it distracts from an ensemble. Based on the popularity of this sneaker, the “orthopedic chic” trend that the 990v5 echoes aren't going anywhere any time soon.
Colors: Black/Silver, Grey/Castlerock, Navy/Silver, Pink/White | Upper Material: Mesh and pigskin leather | Size Range: 5-13 (in narrow, medium, wide, and extra-wide)
Best Luxury: Balenciaga Triple S Sneakers
A personal favorite of Fausti's, the Balenciaga Triple S sneakers were released in 2017 and are still going strong within the style set. "Everyone should have Balenciaga Triple S," she says, noting its versatility. We agree—if you can afford the heftier price tag. It comes in a variety of colorways, but the classic white or black versions offer versatile year-round wearability. Plus the double-layer foam keeps you comfortable when on your feet all day.
Colors: Black, White, Green/White, Lilac, Pink/White, Grey, Beige, Logo White +more | Upper Material: 48% polyurethane, 52% polyester | Size Range: FR 34-42
Best Distressed: Golden Goose Superstar Distressed Leather Sneakers
Cult sneaker brand Golden Goose’s Superstar sneakers are hand-distressed to give them the look and feel of your old favorites. They’re made from supple leather and, sometimes, glitter. Many people love them for their wearability; you can team them with everything from cropped jeans to delicate dresses.
Colors: White with different accent options | Upper Material: Leather | Size Range: IT 34-42
Best Flatform: Superga 2790 Platform Sneakers
Superga has nailed the flatform sneaker, which is characterized by chunky flat soles. The small lift elongates and contours the legs, and the brand’s selection of neutral colorways makes the style very versatile overall. One thing to note is that the brand is known for inconsistent sizing, so double-check the size chart to ensure you're buying the correct size (or order a few different sizes online and return the ones that don't fit.)
Colors: Black/White, Grey Sage, Navy Blue, White, Total White | Upper Material: Cotton, polyurethane, and leather | Size Range: 5-10
Best High-Top: Converse Chuck Taylor All Star Patchwork
Creators from Converse instilled a contemporary twist of retro patchwork on the heritage brand’s classic high-top sneakers. These are statement-making, sure, but you can count on a Chuck Taylor's breathable canvas design for comfortable all-day, everyday wear. This style comes in two different colorways, and we can't decide which we love more.
Colors: Jade Unity/Lime Rave/Light Dew, Dk Marina Blue/Pink Foam | Upper Material: Canvas | Size Range: 5-15
Best Dad Sneaker: New Balance 574v2
The ‘dad’ sneaker trend is alluring for its pragmatism, and no pair showcases this better than New Balance’s 574s. It’s a comfort-first shoe that’s rounded out by a chunky shape and retro detailing. It’s also durable, and the dark colorways make dirt and distress from wear less noticeable.
Colors: Burgandy/Black, Workwear/Henna, White/Grey, Gold, Metallic Silver, Night/Night Tide, Silver Birch/White, Black Spruce/Silver Pine +more | Upper Material: Suede and mesh | Size Range: 5.5-14.5
Best Canvas: Vans Authentic Platform 2.0
Vans is well known for its canvas styles, and we could suggest virtually any of them. But this iteration is less signature Vans in design and more versatile, thanks to its no-frills nature. For days on your feet, you can rely on them for comfort, and with such a thick chunky sole, it will take you a while to wear them down.
Colors: True White, Black, Checkerboard/True White, Omphalades/True White | Upper Material: Canvas | Size Range: 5-11.5
Best Athletic: APL TechLoom Pro
You’ll want to get moving in APL’s TechLoom Pro shoes. Inspired by the shape and lightweight quality of a feather, the uppers are made from one piece of knitted fabric for breathability, while the low-profile, flexible outsole allows for easy movement.
Colors: Metallic Pearl/White, Neon Peach/Pristine, Magenta/Ice Blue, Cobalt/Pristine, Rose Dust/Navy/Melange, Frozen Grey/Ice Blue, +more | Upper Material: Textile and synthetic | Size Range: 5-11
Best Slip-On: Chuck Taylor All Star Shoreline Slip
This standard-looking pair of Chuck Taylor All-Stars has a sneaky slip-on feature. It offers an elasticized heel so that they slip on and off easily. They’re also pretty lightweight, and like most styles by Converse, they wear well over time.
Colors: White, Varsity Red, Black, Cloud Gray, Athletic Navy | Upper Material: Canvas | Size Range: 5-11
Best Laceless: Vans Classic Slip-on Checkerboard
This pair by Vans is also a slip-on sneaker, with all of the classic sneaker features except for the laces. It rates well for comfort, convenience, and style and boasts stamps of approval from the likes of Reese Witherspoon and Kylie Jenner.
Colors: Black/Off White, Rainbow/True White, Gray Dawn/True White, Blushing Bride/Classic White, Pewter/True White, Rose Dawn/True White, +more | Upper Material: Canvas | Size Range: 5-14.5
Best Velcro: Veja Recife Logo Sneakers
French sneaker brand Veja makes a velcro style that’s sleeker and more sophisticated than anything else on the market right now. (Perhaps this is because it’s quite difficult to make the style look more elegant than juvenile). They’re perfect for when you just want something quick but polished to slip on. Fasten the front straps on these cute kicks, and you’re good to go.
Colors: Matcha/White, Extra White/Pierre/Natural, White/Platine, Extra White/Black +more | Upper Material: Leather | Size Range: FR 35-46
Best Minimalist: Common Projects Original Achilles Leather Sneakers
Common Projects is beloved by everyone from Silicon Valley-based CEOs to Hollywood movie stars, and it’s with the Original Achilles style specifically that spurred all of the hype. (It’s the first style the sneaker brand made upon its inception in 2004.) It’s a clean low-top made from luxe leather and stamped with a metalized serial number.
Colors: White, Navy, Black, Olive, Brown, Gray, Blush, Mint, Nude | Upper Material: Calfskin and nubuck leather | Size Range: IT 35-42
Best Handmade: Esquivel X Classic Weekender
Crafted and lined with supple leather, Esquivel sneakers are made to feel as cushy and comfortable as your favorite pair of slippers. The brand, which specializes in handmade and made-to-order shoes and boots, made its way into the sneaker space in 2020 by employing its craftsmen to produce its styles with the finest materials and traditional shoemaking practices.
Colors: Oyster White, White Tattoo, Gold Distressed, Pink Suede, Green Suede, Blue Suede | Upper Material: Leather | Size Range: 6-11
What to Look for When Buying Sneakers
When it comes to buying new sneakers, Fausti focuses on style and comfort. "I also need to know they look good with leggings, baggy clothes, and bare legs," she says. Since sneakers come in many forms, sneaker style is simply a personal preference, although some types may be better for certain occasions than others. For example, canvas or low-top sneakers tend to be more comfortable in summer or hotter climates, than say, high-top leather sneakers. Leather sneakers generally tend to be versatile for more formal occasions than knit, canvas, or athletic sneakers, as well. With that said, everyday sneakers aren't just for heading to the gym. "I love to dress up sneakers with activewear, a button-down shirt left unbuttoned, and a blazer," explains Fausti.
The best sneakers can be made from a variety of materials, like canvas, nylon, and leather. The first two materials are the most utilitarian. They’re fairly casual compared to resplendent leather, and can certainly become dirty, especially if they’re light in color. However, neither are particularly fickle fabrics, so they can generally be washed or spot-treated without issue. Leather has a very luxurious look and feel, and when used for the lining and insole of a given sneaker style, it will provide enduring comfort and support.
The majority of brands make sneakers with foam or cardboard in the lining and insole. The former will provide sufficient cushion to the wearers, though it won’t last indefinitely. Foam will lose its rebound eventually, while cardboard is stiff and will never break-in. This is perhaps OK for those who filter out or pairs often, but if you’re looking for a pair with enduring comfort and you don’t mind paying a premium, we suggest opting for a full leather construction.
How should sneakers fit?
To ensure the correct fit, double-check the brand's size chart for shoe length. You can measure your foot by placing measuring tape on flat ground, standing straight up, and measuring your heel to your big toe. Typically, you should allow at least 1/2 inch of space between your longest toe and the tip of your shoe. Sneakers should be snug, but not too tight to cause uncomfortable rubbing which may result in blisters.
Can you put sneakers in the washing machine?
For the utmost certainty, we recommend checking the brand’s website for care instructions, though you should be able to wash most sneakers made from nylon, cotton, and polyester in the washing machine, as these materials won’t react poorly to laundry detergent. If you go this route, remove the shoelaces and insoles, and wash them separately. (Doing so will make the drying process much quicker.)
After removing excess dirt from your sneakers with a soft brush, place them in a mesh garment bag to keep them contained in the washer. Along with the bag, place a few old towels (that are less likely to leech dye) in the washing machine to balance the load and prevent excessive banging, then wash on a delicate cycle in cold water. Only air-dry the shoes, et voilà.
Leather and suede, on the other hand, should never be machine-washed. After all, you don’t wash your dress shoes in the washing machine, do you?
Why Trust Byrdie?
This shopping guide was written by Byrdie contributor Hayley Prokos. A seasoned commerce writer and editor, she’s constantly on the hunt for stylish yet sensible clothing, footwear, and accessories. Her work has appeared in SELF Magazine, Newsweek, and the daily Greek newspaper Ekathimerini, and she holds a Master of Arts in Journalism from Northwestern University. For this roundup, she researched the current market for upwards of 10 hours and cross-referenced her findings with testing and prior experience. She’s worn and cycled through many sneaker styles over the years.